Monday, December 12, 2011

“How DARE You!”

by Dr. Daniel Shaye, Chiropractic Physician

“To conquer oneself is a greater victory than to conquer thousands in a battle. -The Dalai Lama

"How DARE you!”

It’s a powerful phrase, full of emotion, evoking higher powers, suggesting that what you have done shakes the very foundations of all.

Do you dare?

I recall once, at a party, someone who openly scorned athletic endeavors as a colossal waste of time.  To this person, the countless hours were a waste, self-absorbed, producing no value for society or for anyone.  I did not openly disagree with her, as her mind was made up;  yet now, I wish I had.  In an activity, in a quest, lies  beauty and joy — and even performance art.  I like that, Life as Performance Art.

I recall seeing/hearing Gloria Estefan perform “Reach” at the Atlanta Olympics.  Her voice was so powerful, and her spirit and words so completely committed to the spirit of the games, to the best there is… I recall the tears streaming down my face as her words called to me.  They still do.

Sometimes I think striving for greatness, for achievement, is a young man or young woman’s game.  The body’s ageing, and it won’t do what it once did.  Then I see what top masters athletes are achieving, and I begin to wonder what still lives in me… and I feel the exact same drive I did at age 23, at my athletic peak, anything possible.

I wonder if nothing has changed.  Truly, at times I’m certain of it.

Perhaps someday soon I’ll expound on the latest research supporting the physical benefits of exercise to stave off joint diseases, mental decline, diseases of the blood vessels, dysfunction of lungs, lapses of the immune system.  But for me, and for many of us, fitness, athletics, and especially running are more than that.  They are a call to the best within each of us… and it doesn’t matter what age you are.

When we dare to explore our limits—whether they be in athletics, or in love, in academia or in a profession—we risk much.  We risk suffering.   We risk finding out that our limits, our very selves, are different than we expected.   We risk a deep attachment to an activity, to an identity, to our own bodies, or to another… and what we are attached to, we tend to prize… and can lose.  Yet there’s a joy not just in the journey, but in touching—even for a moment—the limits of our potential, a sort of “rare air” that is so sweet and otherworldly yet so much our home.  We see it, and we celebrate it, in the college or high school athlete who hits that finish line with his arms thrust to the skies, completely spent, yet coming home to a moment that if he could bottle it, he could live off it indefinitely.  We saw it in Deena Kastor’s face as she came down the final 100 meters of the Olympic 2004 Olympic marathon, her face crumbling in joy and wonder as she realized that a medal was hers.  And we too feel it as we round that final turn, our eyes rising up to look at that clock, calling us home, asking us, “Do you truly want this?  Really?  Are you willing to pay for it?  Show me.”

Go for it, my friends.

I dare you.

I'll see you on the roads and trails, my friends.

-Dr. Daniel A. Shaye

Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician

Fellow, International Academy of Medical Acupuncture

Do you have a question you’d like answered? Mail your questions c/o Performance Chiropractic1307 Jamestown Road, Ste. 103, Williamsburg, VA 23185; visit us on FaceBook at; e-mail; or go to

Athlete Profile: Jennifer Quarles

by Daniel Shaye, DC

Author’s note:  I recently decided to interview some “stars” of local running, so that I might share what I learn a bit from them, and to share that with our fellow runners.  This month, I’ve interviewed 6-time CRR Grand Prix Champion  (and soon-to-be Master) Jen Quarles.  Enjoy. 

RD (Running Dog):  What's the best performance you've had in the past 3 years (distance & time)?
JQ:  5K 18:40 (Gov. Land), 10K 39:59 (Warhill) both in 2011

RD:  What excites and motivates you to train? To race?
JQ:  Setting PR's (recent PR's) and winning both motivate me

RD:  How many miles per week do you typically run?
JQ:  Ranging from 50-65 miles on average

RD:  How long was your longest run last year?
JQ:  18 miles

RD:  How many times do you race each year?
JQ:  At least 10 CRR races, usually one or two half marathons a year, and a few others, so around 15.

RD:  Do you do speed work? If so, how often?
JQ:  I do speed work just once a week, either tempo or track.  I used to push for twice weekly speed work, tempo once a week and track once a week. I prefer track for speed work so try to get that in if I'm only doing speed work once that week. And I consider running a 5K speed work too so I may skip track the week of a race.

RD:  Do you work on your form?
JQ:  Nope.

RD:  Do you take a rest day (day off from running) each week?
JQ:  I usually take one day off per week. And I'm not very good at doing nothing, or sitting still really, so I'm usually active one way or another =)

RD:  Do you stretch? Do you feel it makes a difference, one way or another?
JQ:  I stretch very infrequently. I wish I could fit it into my schedule but historically I’ve run until 7am and then as soon as I get home I start getting ready for work and getting the kiddos ready for school. I know that my lower body is tight because I don't stretch and would benefit from it greatly. I also know it would help me during races.  In recent months I’ve been getting up at 5am.  I had been running from 5:30 – 7 many mornings but was just getting too tired.  I’m feeling better now that I’ve cut back some.

RD:  Do you lift weights (resistance exercise)?  Do you ever do resistance training for your legs, or just upper body/core?

JQ:  I lift 15lb. handweights at home 2x/week for upper body and also do ab exercises.
RD:  Do you cross train?
JQ:  I try to cross train once or twice a week. I walk very often (around town with the family and dog and hike on Matoaka trails) and sometimes do the elliptical machine. I ride bikes with the kids in the summer and nice weather. I also do a lot of yard work and working in our garden.

RD:  Do you train solo, or with others?
JQ:  I do most of my training with others. I like to talk and be entertained during my runs, which takes my mind off the actual running if we're pushing the pace. My favorite training partners are those who are faster and push me in my training. I run with Paul Freiling fairly often and do some long training runs with Greg Dawson. They are both faster and have had a positive effect on my training in that they'll push the pace on our runs which will ultimately make me faster. I've recently started running with my iPod during solo runs and I find that the music helps me push the pace as well.

RD:  How important is sleep/rest to your routine?  Do you nap?
JQ:  I need my sleep!  I do not nap but go to bed fairly early most nights (between 9 and 10) and am up by 4:45am most mornings.

RD:  What action do you take when you feel a soreness or impending injury?
JQ:  Mmmm....what do I actually do or what should I do?? =) I try to take time off but that's hard. Ice, ibuprofen, stretching if it doesn't feel too badly. But I do take time off if I can tell it's something serious.

RD:  Have you been injured (unable to run) in the past year?
JQ:  Knock on wood - not in the last year!

RD:  What's the worst/most embarrassing mistake or error you've made before, during, or after a race?
JQ:  Not embarrassing, but the worst mistake I make during races is going out too fast. I've been working on starting slower this year during races.

RD:  Do you set goals for the year? How do you set goals?
JQ:  I usually set one or two goals for the year. I determine where I am currently in my training and racing and then set a goal to better my time(s) in a certain distance(s). Goals will help me get out of bed when I'm extra tired in the morning and also help me to train harder when I feel like slacking off.

RD:  What's the single greatest thing holding you back from the next level of fitness/competition?
JQ:  My very busy schedule (spending time with my family, work, running kids to and fro, social activities, travel, etc).  That being said, I wouldn't give any of it up to get to that next level of fitness as it's all such an important part of my life, which I love!